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Spamming Keeps Taking On New Forms

Over the last month or so e-mail spam seems to be making more way into mailboxes. E-mails like "Lotto Winner" or "Discounted mE:DicAtioNS" are polluting the inboxes. Indeed, there has been an actual increase in the number of spam mails that e-mail providers are unable to filter out.

Spammers are using more sophisticated techniques to present their messages that are able to bypass spam filters. In a study of spam in August, McAfee found that about 72 percent links in e-mails connected to website addresses per hour. This in part is to prevent domains being identified by spam filters and eroded.

Spammers increase the number of domains in use to send out more spam mails to a large number of people simultaneously. When the spam filters detect these domains the spammer changes to other domains. This cycling through domains is very fast increasing the chances of spam hitting inboxes.

According to Guy Roberts, development manager at McAfee, the 'cat and mouse' game between spammers and anti-spam companies is going on. While the anti-spam companies are updating their products to catch the spam, spammers are becoming even more persistent.

Spammers travel through the Internet electronically. They use small programs called "bots" (derived from robots). The bots meander from Website to Website, or newsgroup-to-newsgroup searching for chains of characters that resemble e-mail addresses. As they get them they record them into their database or e-mail back to the originator, who may store them.

Sometimes a spammer who collects the e-mail addresses sells them to another spammer. On some occasions when these e-mail addresses are used they look like spam coming from legitimate addresses. In such a way the spammer hopes to avoid filter traps set for trash mails.

In this process when e-mail servers identify a bulk of spam coming from what they perceive to be legitimate e-mail id, that id or its mail server may be separated through filters or even blacklisted.

Big anti-spam companies need to have more than just a temporary solution. They must impose larger penalties and bigger stoppages to reduce the potential spammers' operations that disturb computer users every day.

Related article: Spamming: Most Preferred Medium for Cyber Attackers

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